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VICE President Costantino Chiwenga Saturday toured the country’s three international airports and commended the facilities’ preparedness to receive tourists as Zimbabwe awaits the return of international airlines on its skies.
Government allowed domestic and international airlines to resume flights and Ethiopian Airlines has since indicated it will fly into Victoria Falls on the first week of October.
VP Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care Minister, toured Robert Mugabe International in Harare in the morning before visiting Joshua Mqabuko in Bulawayo midmorning and Victoria Falls later in the day.
The ports of entry have been closed since March when the country effected a national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
They will be opened on October 1 for international flights while domestic airline, Fastjet will be starting flights this coming week.
“The re-opening of the major ports of entry on October 1 follows the successful launch of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy by President Mnangagwa in Victoria Falls in August. The re-opening of our international airports is part of a phased approach to the opening of all the country’s airports,” said Chiwenga.
“Our international airports are now Covid-19 compliant and ready to receive visitors without compromising visitors.”
He said all three airports were now ready to start receiving travellers as was the case before the Covid-19 outbreak with port health and other facilities now in place.
VP Chiwenga said the country was elated by reduction in Covid-19 new cases.
“The lifting of travel restrictions was informed by the mild Covid-19 cases in the country and the need to revive the tourism industry,” he said.
Tourism was one of the hardest hit by Covid-19 which caused international travel bans leaving the industry with not clients.
Many companies sent workers on unpaid leave while others trimmed staff.
However, the VP said reopening the airports and industry did not mean that Covid-19 was no longer there.
He called for vigilance and adherence to regulations prescribed by World Health Organisation.
“The purpose for reopening the industry is to save jobs and the economy. The virus is still there although we have controlled it. We must remain on high alert and there will be no relaxation to instructions to the fight virus which are in place.